Town Water Restrictions Instituted

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Level II water conservation restrictions are now in place for town of Payson water customers as mandated by the new water conservation ordinance that took effect March 1.

Under Level II restrictions, all town water users are prohibited through Oct. 31 from:

  • Washing paved areas such as drives, sidewalks or tennis courts, except for health or safety.
  • Irrigating (watering lawns, plants or landscaping), except before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Golf courses are similarly restricted unless using treated effluent.
  • Washing vehicles, unless a bucket and a hose with a positive cutoff nozzle is used. Commercial car washes are excepted.
  • Running ornamental fountains unless equipped with a recycling pump.
  • Using water from a fire hydrant except for emergencies, or with written approval from both the public works director and fire chief, or for use associated with firefighting activities, public health, safety or welfare.

In addition, Public Works Director Buzz Walker can institute odd-even day watering restrictions at any time water supply and demand conditions indicate the need to manage water use more aggressively.

"What we'll do is look at May's water use, which won't be until the end of June, and we'll assess it at that time," Walker said.

The new water conservation ordinance, a 12-page document, replaced an ordinance that did little more than delineate conservation stage levels according to the amount of water in storage tanks. The new ordinance retains conservation stage levels, but ties them to "resource status levels" that incorporate weather conditions and historic data as well as storage reserves.

It gives the town manager power to invoke conservation stages II through IV when demand is greater than "safe production capability" (defined as 90 percent of total available water resources) for increasing periods of time.

Under the new ordinance, water waste of any kind is prohibited, as are new turf areas, artificial water features such as ponds and lakes larger than 50 gallons, plants that require spray irrigation and the use of misters. Charity car washes are encouraged to utilize commercial car washing facilities and automatic shutoff nozzles are required for all outdoor uses.

Walker and Payson Town Council members hope the new conservation ordinance and a new water rate increase will combine to finally put an end to relentless increases in consumption.

The new rate structure reflects an increase in every water use category except 2,000 gallons or less per month. But the Payson Town Council added $1 per month to the base rate of $18.65 for 0-2,000 gallons. The increase is across the board.

"The new rates take effect May 10, and you will see the rates being charged on the June bill," Walker said.

Water Quality Report

Meanwhile, the water department released its fourth annual water quality report, summarizing the results of all testing of the town's water system for the past three years.

"In more than 100 tests conducted at each source in the drinking water system, none of the strict standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality were exceeded," town Water Quality Specialist Karen Probert said. "We are proud of the high quality drinking water supplied to our customers and are working diligently to assure delivery of safe and dependable drinking water."

The town collects monthly samples and tests for 34 contaminants, including lead, arsenic, tetrachlorethylene, iron and zinc.

The only substance added to Payson water is a small amount of chlorine to disinfect the water and prevent bacterial growth.

Copies of the report will be mailed to all water customers this month.

The report is also available at the water department in the Payson Town Hall complex at 303 N. Beeline Highway and at the Payson Public Library in Rumsey Park.

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